Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, of the Nigeria Defence Headquarters (DHQ), has confirmed that 36 soldiers were killed in Niger State by terrorists.
Buba, disclosed this on Thursday during a press briefing, saying the casualties were recorded from the ambush of troops and an evacuation helicopter that crashed on August 14.
The breakdown was given at the biweekly briefing of the Defence Media Operations, according to Channels TV.
When asked about the cause of the helicopter crash, he restated that an investigation is still underway to determine the cause and urged citizens to be wary of propaganda by terrorists and remain patriotic.
WikkiTimes had reported that bandits wreaked havoc in Niger State for three days unchallenged, looting and pillaging villages under Wushishi, Lavun and Rafi local councils.
They would later engage in a gunfight with Nigerian troops, in which many of them were neutralised. Sadly, the gunfights claimed some soldiers as well.
No fewer than 12 bodies of fallen Nigerian troops were evacuated from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Zungeru, the headquarters of Wushishi LGA.
An insider in the facility told WikkiTimes a military helicopter (NAF 582) evacuated the bodies from the hospital, adding six other injured officers were among the one-time evacuation trip [to the FMC] embarked upon by the helicopter.
The helicopter, a MI-171 series would later be taken down by terrorists loyal to a bandit kingpin, Dogo Gide.
The Nigerian Air Force argued the helicopter crashed but could not explain why. It said investigations are ongoing to determine the cause.
A few hours later, the Dogo Gide-led faction claimed responsibility for the crash, saying they took it down using AK-47.
But some of the terrorists could be seen with more sophisticated weapons in a video made to claim responsibility for the crash.
The Nigerian Air Force debunked their claim, labelling it “propaganda.” However, analysts blamed the agency for not securing the scene of the incident after the helicopter went off the radar.
Meanwhile, locals around the Chiluba village where the helicopter crashed, insist it was taken down by terrorists “loyal to Dogo Gide.”